The top young male and female sailing athletes from around the world will converge on San Francisco Bay next month to compete for the ultimate prize at the WASZP Grand Final - Championship of Champions.
Taking place alongside the Mubadala SailGP Season 3 Grand Final | San Francisco (May 5-6), the WASZP Grand Final is the culmination of SailGP’s Inspire Racing x WASZP series and offers the next generation of sailors an unparalleled opportunity to compete at the highest level.
Achieving a podium finish will provide a major springboard to the aspiring young athletes, as the winners will receive an incredible money-can’t-buy immersive experience of joining one of the SailGP Teams in Season 4 and the opportunity to ride on an F50.
Inspire Racing x WASZP is a world-class program that provides a stepping stone for under 21s to develop foiling skills and create a pathway to SailGP’s F50 catamarans.
It has a strong focus on inclusivity – aiming to diversify sailing through its programs to foster talent and eliminate gender, racial and socioeconomic barriers.
Heading into just the second Inspire WASZP Grand Final, the program has already reaped huge rewards for its inaugural winners.
SailGP Season 2 Female Inspire Champion Hattie Rogers (GBR) has been involved with the Emirates Great Britain SailGP Team – stepping in to train with the team in San Francisco (Season 2), representing the team as the fleet reserve female athlete in Plymouth (Season 3) and is now involved in the team’s wider pathway program.
Male Season 2 Inspire Champion Sean Herbert (NZL) had an exhilarating ride on the F50 with the New Zealand SailGP Team in Sydney and has since started working with SailGP Technologies where he has learnt about the complex engineering behind these amazing machines.
Co-CEO of the NZL SailGP Team Blair Tuke said: “We loved having Sean Herbert with the team in Sydney, and can't wait to welcome more WASZP winners to join us for a day in San Fran next month."
"The Inspire program is such a unique part of SailGP - it's great to see more young people like Sean, Noah and Stella getting an up close experience with the league, and spending more time on foiling boats."
Throughout Season 3, promising young sailors were selected through their governing bodies, WASZP Class association and SailGP Inspire racing events to ensure the highest level of diverse talent and a 50:50 gender balance, with the winners (top male and top female) from each qualifying event progressing to the Inspire WASZP Grand Final.
The Inspire x WASZP racing program includes training clinics in the lead-up to race days with professional foiling coaches, meet and greets with SailGP Team athletes and senior members of SailGP staff for careers advice and work experiences, as well as additional fitness training.
The Racing will take place during the SailGP event in San Francisco - before and during F50 racing on a mini version of the SailGP race course.
United States SailGP Team CEO and driver Jimmy Spithill said: “It will be fascinating to see not only who takes the SailGP Grand Final Title in San Francisco, but who from the next generation takes the Inspire WASZP Racing title on the same race course as us! I predict we will see the future rising stars come from this competition, and it won't be long until they are racing a grand final on the F50.”
SailGP CEO Sir Russell Coutts said: “The Inspire WASZP Grand Final brings the talent of the next generation together on the global stage to compete and learn from the best sailing athletes in the world. As part of our Better Sport strategy, we are supporting and developing the talent of the future, regardless of background, and creating a clear route to competing onboard the F50s.”
“We’ve already seen incredible success with the Program as last year’s winners have progressed through the ranks, so I’m excited to see these young sailors in action in San Francisco, and hopefully competing in SailGP in the future.”
Marc Ablett from WASZP said: “At WASZP we have a clear vision to form an alternative pathway in sailing into professional sailing. SailGP INSPIRE has provided this platform. Last year's Grand Final provided the catalyst for many of our young WASZP sailors to chase their dreams and get an opportunity to join some of the teams during season 3. In season 3 we have seen the talent go through the roof with many sailors now prioritising their WASZP sailing as part of their path in sailing. There is simply no better pathway in sailing. SailGP is growing exponentially and we are stoked to be on this journey with INSPIRE.”
Isi Collado Font WASZP Winner in Cadiz said: "I look forward to the final in San Francisco. I'm sure it will be an unforgettable experience, flying close to the F50s in the bay is amazing. I am happy to share this opportunity with great sailors and to make the most of the SailGP INSPIRE event."
Daniel Ian Toh, WASZP Winner in Singapore said: “I’m really honored to be the first Singaporean to qualify for the Grand Final. San Francisco is such an iconic sailing venue and I’m looking forward to racing there with the best youth sailors in the world!”
Rachael Betschart (18) and Ethan Thompson (15) // winners of the the Bermuda Sail Grand Prix presented by Hamilton Princess
Rebecca Heller (18) and Gavin Ball (19) // winners from the T Mobile US Sail Grand Prix
Eve Kennedy (19) and Duncan Gregor (18) // winners of the Great Britain Sail Grand Prix
Hedvig Doksrød (16) and Jacob Wærsten (16) // winners of the ROCKWOOL Denmark Sail Grand Prix
Emilie Bouchet (19) and Hippolyte Gruet (20) // winners of the Range Rover France Sail Grand Prix
Isi Collado Font (17) and Quique Urios Salinas (20) // winners of the Spain Sail Grand Prix presented by Near
Daniel Ian Toh (20) // winner of the Singapore Sail Grand Prix
Seisia Mair (18) and Louis Tilly (15) // winners of the KPMG Australia Sail Grand Prix
Stella Bilger (17) and Noah Malpot (17) // winners of the ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix